Nick Simonson

Bass fishing tips for lunker bass involve getting in deep and getting them out

Slop, gunk, or matting, call it what you will, but by this time in the summer, the combination of weed tops and surface vegetation has sealed off water access for shoreline anglers and limited the area that boat anglers can work. But those anglers who overlook this green gobbledygook could also be passing up some stellar opportunities at tangling with monster bass.

Hit the junk

Simply put, Largemouth bass love the shade that floating mats of vegetation provide on hot summer days. Think of these shoreline weed beds as a restaurant with an all-you-can-eat buffet that sits under an awning along the busiest street in town. Not only is there shade from the elements, but there is also enough food to keep the prepare-for-winter binge cycle going.

Once an area filled with matted weeds is discovered, check for surrounding structure to locate the prime "spot-on-a-spot" to fish. If a creek channel or a point is nearby successful fishing is likely, due to the daily travel routine of bass.

Weapons for weeds

"Fear no fish" is the G. Loomis' rod company's motto, "fear no mess" should be every slop angler's motto. Casts deep into the gunk, or even up onto the surrounding shoreline guarantee that those fish hanging at the shallow edge of the slop will sense your lure.

Of course, getting the lure back to the boat can be a challenge, making weedless rigging of the utmost importance. Selecting a weedless surface bait is key.

First and foremost on the list of surface baits is the Scum Frog. This lure has proven itself time and again, and is extremely weedless right out of the package. The dual hook stays tucked next to the body of the bait and the frog's soft form and wispy legs make it look natural on the water.

Another excellent choice is any number of bass tubes available. Texas rigged with a worm hook from size 4/0 down to 1/0 depending on bait size, these lures provide streamlined weedless presentations, even in the thick stuff. Experiment with a variety of soft plastics such as lizards, worms, frogs and grubs in lengths from three to eight inches, depending on the size and voracity of the bass you are fishing for.

Make it creepy

Once the lure is rigged right and ready to go, find a weed-covered area along a channel or near a point with varying degrees of cover available. Look for slop that has thick green mounds of weeds, matted weed tops and a few open holes throughout.

Cast the bait towards shore, aiming for where the water meets land. The idea is to hit the shoreline and be able to pull the bait into the water from shore. Don't be surprised if a fish swirls within a few feet of the water's edge. Bass are well known for holding shallow.

Keep moving the lure slowly across the surface in a retrieve-pause-twitch style. Sometimes the strikes will come on a fast movement, other times a boil results from the lure hanging motionless overhead.

Hit the holes

Not all weed mats are created equal. The ones that are usually the most productive have gaps and holes in their ceilings. These are perfect feeding areas for fish. Twitch a tube or a frog and bring it to the far edge. Pause it on the edge of the hole then move it into the opening and let it sit still. Be patient, some fish wait a while before committing to the bait. If no strike occurs, pull the bait across the gap and twitch it again with a subsequent pause.

Hard hooksets

By far, the most exciting aspect of this style of fishing is watching a bass explode through the weeds to attack a bait. When that water boils, feel for the fish for a split second, then set the hook, HARD! First the hook must go through the plastic of the lure then into the fish's mouth. A quick snap just won't do it.

If setting the hook wasn't a big enough challenge, the weeds will be. The largemouth will dance and jump, but when that thick cover is there, ol' black stripe is heading down.

After a positive hookset, keep the rod high and the line tight because once that fish gets into the weeds and begins to wrap the line around the stems and roots of the plants, the going gets tougher.

A medium rod at least 6'6" in length is a minimum mandatory piece of equipment, along with a powerful reel lined with at least 12-pound monofilament. Superlines work even better with increased abrasion resistance and their ability to cut through weed stalks.

The misses and lost fish are part of this kind of angling, and should be expected. However, the explosion on the lure and a positive hook set are a rush to remember.

So when all of those other fish have you down as the temperatures go up this summer, a trip to bass water is in order. While there, don't forget to search the slop for some of the biggest lunker bass that can be found…in our outdoors.